Leopards pounce to see off Storm

Drew Spinks drives in for two of his 19 points against Essex Leopards
Drew Spinks drives in for two of his 19 points against Essex Leopards

Hemel Storm lost 89-83 to the Essex Leopards on Saturday in a game that was ultimately decided by a potentially season-ending ankle fracture to Storm centre Zak Wells.

In front of yet another packed crowd at Sportspace it was the Leopards that were first out of the traps as they opened up an early five-point lead, which they increased to 23-14 at the end of the first quarter.

Hemel started the second period well but the Leopards were quickly back in their stride and they eased their advantage up to double figures to lead by 12 at half-time.

It looked as if any hope of a comeback had disappeared when Wells crashed to the floor after a collision under the basket less than a minute into the third quarter.

But this Hemel team are nothing if not fighters and showing great determination they whittled the lead down to eight points halfway through the period.

Once again, though, the Leopards upped their game to push the lead back into double figures by the end of the quarter.

Badly missing the presence of Wells at both ends of the court, Storm showed fantastic drive and determination to get the lead back down to five points, before successful free-throws by Bode Adeluola and Dru Spinks gave Storm their first lead of the night.

All the effort proved in vain, however, as Leopards eased their way back in front and saw the contest out from the free-throw line to finish six points up.

Hemel are back at Sportspace on Saturday, March 22 in a Division One game against double cup winners Reading Rockets at 7pm.

To purchase match tickets, please visit www.stormbasketball.net